The Importance of (Critically Examining) Urgency

Ok, perhaps the title is just a fun play on words, but the more I thought about the discussions we had at our first F2F about the Eisenhower Matrix and the debate about what is urgent vs. important in connection with the work we do and hope to do, the more I began contemplating the importance of urgency in our lives – as educators, and as people on this journey we call life.

^ Image courtesy of linked site above.

I remember joining Cohort21 for Season 3… I know my “why” felt so clear to me upon joining, but what I remember most about that first year is learning and growing with others, which led me to find the actual “why” behind my action plan and the action plans I continued with over the next few years. (And you can find evidence of this on my previously poorly attended to blog, but the gist is that a tool is a tool, and our why is much more often about mindset!)

The starting and ending ‘why’s’ of my first year with C21 were very different – the first felt urgent to me. And I assumed it was important. However, it turns out that the why was really a WHAT – my mentality was “this is what everyone should be doing for professional development” – the actual why I ended up with was so much more important than a what. A what can be urgent, sure, it can even be important, but our why, well those by very definition get at the core of what matters to us and I believe are deeply both urgent and important.

I think it is often our “why” that we attach urgency to, which can lead us to picking a “what” far too quickly… but our why is also the thing that can shift most easily. Being grounded while doing this important kind of work within our own teaching practices (and those of the greater community) can feel especially challenging as our world changes around us, and as our “why” continually evolves. It needs to, but this is really because we need to, and when we do, our why does too (this could become a chicken vs. egg debate, so I’ll move on now!).

So, this year I think my why is going to revolve around the need for all of us, whether new or seasoned to our classroom teaching or leadership roles, to critically examine why we are doing what we are doing – why this project? Why now? Why these students? Why these teachers? Why now? This fits with the strand of “Leading Change Through Wellbeing” but it also possibly fits with any other strand too… so I shall see where it takes me…

But, I think this will allow me to dig into a part of Design Thinking and good design practice in general that has always fascinated me. If we are designing lessons, projects, courses, professional development experiences, why are we doing what we are doing? I think this is an important question. And, I know there is urgency behind it, especially now as we embrace what our next few years of education could look like post-pandemic and beyond.

And, if I am to have a “what”, let it be blogging more consistently… 🙂

1 thought on “The Importance of (Critically Examining) Urgency

  1. Awesome post – and I love how you parsed out some key elements of what might qualify as urgent and important! I think that what you might be asking is “Is the Mission, Vision and Values of the school still relevant, still important, and is there still some urgency to making progress on them?’

    Thanks, as always, Elissa!

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